Bed bug bites on city bus -- how worried should I be about hitchikers?!(2 posts)
After bringing home at least one hitchiker from a local coffeeshop infestation a few years ago, I have remained on high alert for bed bugs, particularly living in apartments on the north side of Chicago, where they are common. This morning, one of my worst nightmares came true and I was bit by a bed bug on my daily commute by CTA bus. During my 30 minute commute, 3 large, itchy welts in a row popped up on the back of my arm, which had been exposed to the seat. They look and feel just like the bed bug bites I'd gotten before (which always popped up immediately; i react quickly and strongly). What confirmed it for me, despite not seeing a bug, is that there are 3 tiny blood splotches on the inside of my shirt, both on the front and back. Immediately upon arriving at work, I took my clothing off in the bathroom and inspected it carefully in all of the seams and did not see any bugs. I also inspected the contents of my purse, which had been on the seat next to me. I didn't see anything. A couple of hours later, I thought to put my purse in the work freezer. How concerned should I be that the bug was still clinging to my clothes when I arrived at work? The blood splotches indicate that it was on different parts of my shirt after biting me. After exiting the bus, I walked 5 minutes to work. I plan to put my clothes into the dryer as soon as I get back to my apartment tonight, as an extra precaution. Is there anything else I should do? How concerned should I be about my work environment having been exposed? I guess I'm standing on the bus from now on...
I read your letter and was shocked at how closely your symptoms resemble my own. I commute daily using both the Red line, to Yellow, to Pace into Northbrook. I’ve been bitten repeatedly while on these trains and buses with identical effects as those which you listed. Like yourself, I never see them coming or going, for all practical intents and purposes they are invisible.
I read with interest another article here from a woman who described identical symptoms and who spared absolutely no expense with doctors and exterminators in a vain effort to identify the culprit.
I have had an exterminator in my home three times in the last year, with each occasion turning up negative results. No identifying or telltale signs of bed bugs on my sheets or bedding whatsoever. Absolutely nothing to show except for the photographed markings on my arms and legs. I’m convinced that further investigation would be a waste of money and effort on my part as nothing I’ve read yet has indicated that any of these professionals have a handle on what exactly is causing this problem. With some yes, of course, it’s cut and dry. With others though, they are completely baffled.
I’ve explored every possible avenue, explored the possibility that this could be something like scabies since no signs are ever seen. To that end I purchased an ointment to combat that--again to no avail. I’ve lived in this apartment for a little over year and never had a problem until about eight months ago when the carpeting in the hallway outside of my door was pulled out and replaced with new, creating a massive amount dust throughout the building. The problems started that day! I purchased better air conditioning filters, a HEPA air filtration system, and began a regular routine of immediately washing all bedding, vacuuming my own carpeting daily, and even vacuuming the bedding, none of that seemed to matter.
I don’t believe anybody knows what these things are. Initially I read that mites don’t bite, but then I read about how something called “Grocers’ itch” that was indirectly responsible for infections from scratching. People died! These were fruit mite bites in grain that grocers’ would have daily contact with. They are invisible, and to my knowledge aside from respiratory problems, are not being viewed as a potential threat in this area. I’ve read that bed bugs are becoming a worldwide problem again and spoke to some of the people in this apartment building while this was going on that also had similar symptoms, but no one here has found any signs of bed bugs in the building. I also have not noticed any other people demonstrating discomfort on the trains and buses, but obviously they exist as both of our comments indicate. People are being affected.
What the hell is it? I do not know. Some of the people on this forum mentioned seeking help from a therapist. While fortunately I don’t believe I’ll need that, I can certainly sympathize with those who do. It’s insane being attacked by invisible or microscopic creatures that leave us with no source for self-defense! I suspect that until and unless this problem continues to grow, the money and research necessary to isolate and solve the problem will remain non existent.
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